Don’t Invite Food Poisoning Home for the Holidays

20151220_063516-1-e1513802158175-169x300It’s the season of good cheer and festivities, and very often that involves large get-togethers with family members and friends partaking of massive volumes of delicious food. Sure, you want to be known as the perfect host and want guests to talk about the food and fun at your party for days after, but make sure that you are not sending them off with an unwelcome takeaway gift – food poisoning.

Unfortunately, cases of food poisoning tend to spike around the holiday season, when more foods are prepared, stored and served, very often at inappropriate temperatures. Take basic safety precautions to ensure that your guests and your family enjoy the food you make without needing a trip to the hospital emergency room.

First, follow basic hand hygiene practices during all stages of the cooking process.  Wash your hands thoroughly before and after cooking or handling food, especially poultry, raw fruits and vegetables, and raw eggs.

Food must be cooked thoroughly in order to eliminate all germs. Use a food thermometer to check if your meat or poultry has been cooked properly. The thermometer must be inserted in the innermost portion of the poultry or meat that you are testing. Experts believe that an internal temperature of 165° means a thoroughly cooked meat and elimination of all pathogens.

Be very careful about cross-contamination. This is a very real risk, especially over the holiday season when you may be preoccupied and in a hurry to get a variety of dishes ready and served. Separate utensils and chopping boards used for cleaning and chopping produce from those used for handling meat/poultry/ eggs. Preventing cross-contamination begins from the time you bring produce and meats home from the store. These must be carried in separate bags and must be stored separately in the refrigerator. Make sure that juices from your meats and poultry are not dripping from the refrigerated tray on to the fresh vegetables and fruits below.

Eggnog may bring nostalgic memories of Grandma’s Christmas, but eggnog made with raw eggs can possibly send you off to the ER with salmonella poisoning. Use pre-made eggnog that is pasteurized, or make eggnog using pasteurized eggs. Raw eggs are a major risk factor for salmonella poisoning.

Always ensure your food is stored at safe temperatures. Cold foods must always be kept cold. Hot foods must only be brought to the table in small and convenient potions to prevent the breeding of germs out in the open.

Don’t encourage the consumption of cookie dough or cookie batter. These, as well as batters used in the making of cakes, pies, and pizza, contain flour and raw eggs that can cause possibly dangerous salmonella and E. coli poisoning.

These basic food safety tips can help you host a festive, lavish and safe Christmas lunch/dinner that’s enjoyable for all.

The Indiana personal injury attorneys at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy, LLP hope you and your loved ones have a safe and happy holiday season. However, if you or a loved one suffer injuries during these months as a result of someone’s negligent act, our attorneys represent persons who have suffered harm and will fight for your rights. Contact our firm to speak with an attorney about your injuries and your rights. Don’t wait. Call today.